I'm a big fan of narrative-based adventure games, especially when there's a twist to the concept. The team at Variable State has brought together some interesting new characters, but more interesting is the way the game is presented. We took an early look at one of the many games coming this year from publisher Annapurna Interactive.
Last Stop starts off like something out of Black Mirror or The Twilight Zone. A pair of unknown figures are looking to escape police on foot by cutting across a subway station. A mysterious stranger waits nearby and urges them to run through the door next to him. One does, but the other doesn't, and when the door is eventually pulled back a second time, there's only a brick wall. This is the Twilight Zone/Black Mirror type of setup for Last Stop's story and it's just the beginning of what players will experience.
After that introduction, players will be prompted to select between three different characters. They'll pick between John Smith, Meena Hughes, and Donna Adeleke. Each of these characters have their own unique tales, which will eventually converge into a greater narrative. For now, we got a taste of each individual story, getting to step into John, Meena, and Donna's worlds. They'll start off as grounded, real-world stories with tension coming from dramatic situations. For example, John has to find time to take care of his child and balance the demands of his job while Meena is a career woman struggling through an unsatisfying marriage. Along the way, however, players will hit a supernatural twist, which will hint at the larger plot ahead.
Last Stop will feature a handful of standard narrative adventure mechanics, including consequential dialogue choices. Where the game stands out is with what feels like a far more frenetic pace. The camera and the supporting characters will move in such a way that players will almost be pushed in a certain direction, keeping the story flowing at a movie-like rate. Variable State manages to present each story as if it's part of an animated film, complete with a composed soundtrack and quick transitions. It's one of the most unique presentations I've seen in a game like this, one I hope to see more of as the game progresses.
While Last Stop gave me a taste of each character's story and their individual drama, I'm intrigued by what could potentially happen when their paths all intersect. That looks to be where the real meat of Last Stop lies, but it's not something I got to see over the course of this preview.
It won't be long before people get to experience the full Last Stop adventure. As revealed during last week's Indie World Showcase, Last Stop will come to PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch in July.
Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Last Stop hands-on preview: Story train